Export Alliance Group Returns From Chile With Good Leads

December 8, 2014

Chris Wilkerson | Tampa Bay Business Journal
The Tampa Bay Export Alliance group that went to Chile last week on an economic development/trade mission came home with some solid results.
One of the first tangible results of the Export Alliance’s trip will be a January visit from Chilean tour operators and travel agents to see what Tampa Bay has to offer their clients back in South America.
The familiarization tour is tentatively scheduled for February, according to Visit Tampa Bay.
“Copa [Airlines] has done what it said it would do for us,” Visit Tampa Bay President and CEO Santiago Corrada said Monday. “So Chile becomes a very strong prospect for us in terms of tourism.”
About 14 Tampa Bay companies went on the trip with economic development leaders and government officials to introduce the country to the Bay area’s economic diversity. The 14 companies conducted more than 100 meetings with prospective customers, according to the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., and several of them signed deals and sold products while on the trip.
At least one company is still in Chile for part of this week, to make more deals with prospects introduced just last week, according to the EDC, but that company has not been named.
By all accounts, the mission trip met its goals. The group came home with more than 30 solid sales leads, according to EDC CEO Rick Homans. An estimated $9 million in expected export sales were made on the trip, according to the EDC.
Officials from Tampa International Airport, Port Tampa Bay and visitors’ bureaus on both sides of the Bay made the trip. One deal that will take some time to mature was a conversation with the Chilean Fruit Exporters’ Association on opportunities to ship fruit through Port Tampa Bay.